Celtics Notes: Ainge, Trade Exception, Stevens, Collins

Appearing today on Toucher & Rich on The Sports Hub 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed his team’s recent slump and reiterated a couple points he made last week, expressing a belief that the team as constructed as not “good enough” to compete for a title and putting the blame on himself for the roster’s shortcomings (Twitter links via Keith Smith of RealGM).

While Ainge accepted responsibility for the holes on Boston’s roster, he also shared some concerns about the team’s intensity level. Ainge stressed that he believes in the club’s current players, but said, “I wish they were playing harder” (Twitter link via Smith).

The intensity level hasn’t been there,” Ainge said (Twitter link via Smith). “I don’t know how to explain it. Our team isn’t playing well. They don’t play hard all the time. I don’t have an explanation. It’s been frustrating for the players and the coaches.”

According to Ainge, surrounding Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with more scoring and more “dynamic talent off the bench” is a priority. While the Celtics’ top executive restated that he doesn’t want to make a move just to do something, he said the team is always looking for ways to upgrade its roster. “Time will tell” if it happens before the deadline, Ainge added (Twitter links via Smith).

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Specifically addressing the possibility of utilizing the Celtics’ $28.5MM trade exception before the trade deadline, Ainge noted that the exception might be easier to use during the offseason, when the hard cap isn’t a concern and more teams around the NBA can afford to make big-money deals that drastically shake up their rosters (Twitter link via Smith).
  • Appearing on Felger & Mazz on 98.5 FM in Boston, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck made it clear that the franchise is happy with Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens, despite the club’s struggles. They’re our guys and we’re sticking with them, and it’s not even a question in my mind,” Grousbeck said (audio link via NBC Sports Boston).
  • Hawks big man John Collins is one potential trade candidate who could appeal to the Celtics, so Chris Kirschner, Jay King, and Jared Weiss of The Athletic dug into a hypothetical trade to try to determine whether there’s a match between the two teams. Kirschner – who cover the Hawks -and the two Celtics’ writers ultimately agreed that something like Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards, and two or three first-round picks might work.
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73 thoughts on “Celtics Notes: Ainge, Trade Exception, Stevens, Collins

  1. Ironmonger835

    So they’re not even gonna use the giant trade exception. lol. Another “wait til next year”. Also why is Stevens playing Theis and Thompson together? No wonder they’re losing so much.

    • PhillyPhan69

      I am not a Celtics fan so I would love to see them trade all of their assets in the future to use their TPE…but it makes more sense to use it in the off-season for them IMO

        • PhillyPhan69

          Who do you propose they get with this TPE (players cannot be included in this trade)? It will cost all of their first till 25 or maybe 27 to get something done in terms of using the whole exception. There is a reason Danny has been in his position for 18? Years and gone to the ECF 3 out of 4 years. I hope he mortgages their future, I just think he is smart enough to wait

          • Heckleandcried

            Players can be included in the deal. They could trade Pritchard, Langford and Edwards for lets say Barnes and the TPE allows it where normally the salaries would have to match.
            They could not however add all their contracts on top of the TPE to take on a larger contract than its worth.
            So there is countless players they couid trade for.

      • mcmillankmm

        Yeah, you are right Philly…they will have more options in the offseason….trading for Aldridge or Barnes during the season are their most realistic options…which don’t move the needle much

          • mcmillankmm

            Agreed Philly, trading for Barnes wouldn’t be awful (and is probably safe) but it would be disappointing….Aldridge would definitely be a waste

    • Lakers1

      Since typical we were close to a deal but nothing happened.. brown and tatum are solid.. Kemba has been a nightmare.. bench has been mediocre.. Tristan Thompson wasn’t the free agent savior but he is just a role player and was never gonna be that guy to put him over top

    • And replace them with who, exactly? I’d also consider 3 trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in the past 4 years anything but mediocre, specially with a group of misfits/role players the first time (Crowder, IT, etc) and then a really young team with an inconsistent bench the past 2 times… I’m a loooong time C’s fan from NY, and it’s Boston fans like you that cause me sh*t in my state… Lol…

      • PhillyPhan69

        I agree! I hate Boston and would love both of them gone. Brad is easily a top 5 or top 10 at the worst type of coach. Who would they replace him with? I hope they do…I just doubt it.

        • Ironmonger835

          Can you blame him for playing Theis and Thompson together? Why doesn’t Robert Williams play more?He’s probably better than both of them. Why doesn’t Nesmith play more?

          • PhillyPhan69

            I am sure you watch more Celts than I do (but I watch them frequently), but The Time Lord does not strike fear into opponents…I think Theis/Thompson is still the better option

          • mcmillankmm

            Just because Robert Williams has shown some flashes this month doesn’t mean you overlook the last 2 years of him being overmatched in the NBA…all 3 of them are underwhelming

            • Ironmonger835

              Theis literally cost them the Pelicans game. Guy should’ve been benched after that.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Ainge would have a new job in about five minutes. The guy is easily one of the best front office execs in the league, widely respected for his abilities to acquire assets and build good teams.

      But sure, blame him.

      • BloodySox

        Ainge builds “good” teams. Not champions. And knicks suck. Calling them mediocre would be a compliment.

    • They’ve won like 65% of their games over the last five years with three trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and you’re ‘sick of the mediocrity’. Meanwhile the Knicks are an identical 15-17 and I’m ecstatic.

      • BloodySox

        Brad Stevens soft as Charmin and Ainge has no balls. What full grown man is gonna be confident with a leader like Stevens? We’re not good enough to win a championship and haven’t been since ’08.

        • El Don

          You are sooo right BloodySox!!! I wish more people would realize that & things would change in BOS, is just unbecoming for a franchise as storied as BOS to be in the never ending mess they are just now!

  2. hiflew

    Ainge is fine. You have to remember that most GMs would have either kept the #1 pick in 2017 and taken Markelle Fultz or taken Josh Jackson with the #3 pick because he was almost universally considered the better prospect. Instead Ainge stuck to his guns and took Tatum. There were also a lot of people that though Jaylen Brown was a reach at 3 and that Boston should have taken Buddy Hield instead.

    They are 9th right now, but considering they are just 1 game out of the 4 seed in the East, it’s not that bad. Without Ainge, you easily could have had a Jackson/Hield combo that would have Boston near the bottom of the standings.

  3. Black Ace57

    Ainge hasn’t been good in almost 10 years aside from the Nets and Sixers trades. He refused to ever trade his picks for a star instead just holding onto them. The only time he tried was trying to trade 4 picks to draft Winslow so he should thank Michael Jordan for saying no. He also let Horford, Kyrie, and Hayward leave for nothing.

    All they have are 2 great players, a good support guy in Smart, and an overpaid injured guy in Walker. He traded Thybulle to the Sixers. Refused to get Paul George. The Celtics had the same rebuild window as the Sixers, Nuggets, Bucks, Nets, and Jazz and they are the worst of them even with the Nets trade giving them the head start.

    • mcmillankmm

      Disagree, I am always thankful we kept the Nets picks and drafted Brown and Tatum instead of dealing either for George or Butler. Interesting you remember the Celtics shortfalls but overlook George’s shortfalls this past year in the playoffs. Thybulle? We really need another wing defender that can’t shoot or score?

    • ” He refused to ever trade his picks for a star instead just holding onto them.”

      He traded picks and players for Kyrie. So… this is not true.

    • buttholesurfer69

      All he did was draft Brown and Tatum, prob the best duo that was drafted by the same team currently in the league

      Traded for Kyrie. Signed Hayward and Horford.

      Nailed picks like Smart and Rozier.

      I’ve been critical of the Kemba signing, it was a calculated risk that isn’t working well.

      Opting for the exception over Turner and McDerm may also be a mistake, but only time will tell on that.

      Bottom line: like him or hate him Ainge has nailed the draft when he’s had the picks, more often than not. Kyrie’s mood swings and Hayward’s foot falling off aren’t really on him. In 2017 everyone thought they were slam dunks – and if Hayward’s injury didn’t happen they may have been.

      Ainge’s spot is secure. Stevens is a good coach but maybe they need a new voice after the Kyrie and Hayward drama, although I think he’s prob secure for now too.

      • hiflew

        I think Lillard and McCollum would be a better drafted duo. Curry and Klay (when healthy) as well. Although Brown and Tatum do have a lot more upside to go, they may eventually pass the others.

        Interesting topic though.

          • buttholesurfer69

            Maybe Simmons and Embiid taken individually I would agree with. But as a duo I’d probably give the nod to the Boston two. Easier to build around (although Boston is struggling to do so)

            Murray Jokic definitely *if* Murray brings his playoff resume not his reg season one.

            The other two duos I’d have to disagree just bc Ayton and JC aren’t in the same league as the rest of the guys

        • buttholesurfer69

          True Dame and CJ and Steph and Klay def have a leg up. Forgot those guys were drafted by their teams. I prob should have said best duo drafted in the last 5-7 years

  4. david-45

    Im not a celtics fan. But from my perspective and the things i read, the celtics never want to give up too much or they ask for too much. If they want to win, they have to go all in. They went all in for Ray Allen and KG and won a title

    • buttholesurfer69

      The two guys they (allegedly) missed out on were George and Kawhi.

      Well, either would have cost at least one of Brown and Tatum if not both. Also, both bolted for LA as soon as they could have. True Kawhi got a ring before he did, but to be fair at that time no one was banking on GSW losing Klay and KD. And if they didn’t there’s almost 0% chance GSW doesn’t win. And Kawhi still left AFTER he won.

      If anything I think not making a move for them looks better now. Brown and Tatum are under 25 All Stars.

  5. Unfortunately, they would likely need to add that offensive firepower up front; difficult to do mid-year. Collins would be a great addition, UNTIL he has to be paid next year. If they’re willing to pay luxury tax, it would give a great under 25 trio. Two 1st’s seems steep for a rising RFA (three seems ridiculous); although if protected, it might not be.

  6. LordBanana

    Ainge never seems to be able/willing to make that big swing-for-the-fences move.
    He had that bounty of extra first round picks that could have been used in a trade for Anthony Davis or a similar star. Instead, he held on to them too long and they became mid to late round picks Boston had to use. They’ve had like 6 mid/late first round picks in the last couple years, and no contending team has any business trying to develop 6 rookies.
    Now he gave up 2 second round picks for a trade exemption he seems unlikely to use? Not a good look.
    Ainge has gotten really lucky in the last few years, hitting on Tatum and Brown in consecutive drafts is almost unheard of luck. Kyrie fell into their lap for a cut rate price and when they lost him Kemba came as a free agent. He has to be able to do more to maximize that.

    • Ironmonger835

      He loves hoarding picks and then drafting way too many mediocre players who don’t end up doing anything.

    • MafiaBass

      How many of these “swing for the fences” moves would have landed a Kevin Garnett or a Ray Allen?

    • mcmillankmm

      Daddy’s boy Davis said he wouldn’t sign in Boston, so they avoided trading for him…good move. They have plenty of time to use the exception….even if they don’t use the full amount the C’s always miss on their 2nd round picks so I’m going to disagree when you say “not a good look”.

  7. Northern Expansion 416

    Danny “The Arrogant” Ainge…He does think Kemba will lead the celtics, so of course he won’t make any moves!

  8. phillyballers

    The dudes on 98.5 are clowns. Just saying. Terrible sports talk radio up there. Bad like Angelo Cataldi or Tony Bruno. 15% of what they talk about may be sports related.

        • PhillyPhan69

          Yeah I reread the article but it was to late to edit…I thought you were referring to Philly’s 97.5

          • phillyballers

            Nah, most of the talent on 97.5 talks actual sports. 94.1 is a clown show in the morning, the rest is typically good. But I do a lot of work in New England areas and their sports talk is terrible. Ironically when I’m working in Bristol, the hub of ESPN, their station 97.9 has such a limited range. It goes in and out constantly.

  9. Sillivan

    Celtics and Warriors have better draft picks and assets than Mavs and Suns
    Therefore Celtics and Warriors have better future

    Mavs and Suns won’t be great next 4 years without making great one-sided trades

    • Ironmonger835

      Have you seen Danny Ainge’s history drafting in the mid to late first round? It’s not pretty.

      • Sillivan

        Draft picks is used for trade

        Prichard Edwards and 3 picks for Collins via third team

        • Ironmonger835

          If Atlanta want to do that trade. They may just decide to keep Collins.

          • Sillivan

            My third team suggestion

            M Porter Jr to Hawks
            Jaren Jackson to Hawks
            Wolves pick to Hawks via Warriors

            Third team gets 3 Firsts from Celtics

  10. Jason Lancaster

    I’m genuinely perplexed at all this hate for Ainge. The guy has hired a great coaching staff, avoided bad contacts, the team has drafted well under his leadership, and the team is consistently in the playoffs.

    Anyone who isn’t satisfied with that should talk to a Knicks fan, a Kings fan, a Wolves fan, and so on.

    • Curtisrowe

      Well, most of the hate is because it;’s the Celtics, who are one of the two most successful franchises in NBA history. Obviously, if he was the GM of the Timberwolves people would love him. It’s just a different level of the bar.

      I am a Boston sports fan, since I have been watching sports Boston teams have won dozens of championships.

      Lots of people still aren’t happy around here though.

      • Jason Lancaster

        I get that fans want it all, but does anyone want GMs like Pitino or Carr or Wallace back? Maybe bring in Vlade Divac or Magic Johnson? Billy Knight or Billy King? Isaiah Thomas? Phil Jackson? Kevin McHale? David Kahn?

        Not being awful is a pretty big deal, it turns out. Boston fans who don’t want Ainge need to stop being so stupid.

        • BloodySox

          Stupid? 1 championship in 18 years and like 3 appearances? He can draft but that’s about it. Also, they usually draft late so the picks are useless. What’s stupid is your hard on for danny Ainge. Celtics just need a fresh start and new people calling shots.

    • Sillivan

      Fans feel hopeless in the future for 3 teams because no one plays defense

      West is so powerful
      Forget about big thing, they can’t make playoffs

    • Ironmonger835

      They draft well as long as they’re picking in the top three. Other than that, not so good.

  11. Curtisrowe

    Well, he is right about using the TPE in the offseason, this year is cooked. No sense doing anything dumb now. They have three very good players in Brown, Tatum and Smart, everyone else, with the exception of Rob Williams, is either awful or average.

  12. ray win

    I love how the same people dumping on Walker are many of the same people who dumped on Hayward. Now many of them condemn Ainge for nit giving Hayward the mega contract. Walker is not playing well, but is still recovering from his knee problems. I heard a stat that Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Walker had played 28 minutes together this year. The C’s are good when they play defense and have more than 20 assists. They are bad when they do neither.

    • Curtisrowe

      I don’t think there is any reason to “dump on” Walker or Hayward. It is rather obvious though that neither signing has paid off to this point.

  13. Lil D MVC aka Uno

    I agree with Danny. This team is just not playing hard enough. Whether that is on Stevens or the players, no idea, probably both.

    I think Brown had a comment recently about “growing up”. If Brown and Tatum want to be treated like two of the best in the league, they need to do more. That doesn’t just mean putting putting up points, it means getting everyone involved, offensively and defensively. I’ve seen pretty much everyone on this team have good games. It just isn’t consistent.

    This is basically the same roster that made the ECF last year. The talent is there, they just need to bring it. Claiming that a team with 2 of the best young players in the league still doesn’t have “enough” is classic Boston, but specious nonetheless.

      • Lil D MVC aka Uno

        Smart – when he’s not playing he’s the heart, soul, crucial component, irreplaceable lifeblood of the team. When he’s playing he’s “taking too many shots”.

        Hayward – is injured again.

        • PhillyPhan69

          Hayward played last night with his bruised hand and put up 20 helping to beat a hot Suns (no pun intended) team last night. Perhaps your injury report is off just a bit

          • Lil D MVC aka Uno

            Why would the pun not be intended? lol I will never understand why people purposely use puns, especially in a format where you can edit your comment, then tell us to disregard them. It’s not like calling the Sun’s “hot” is antithetical to your point. Just take the W.

            And yes, Hayward played. But this is how it starts…

  14. KnickerbockerAl

    Think their biggest issues have been health and a rim protector. Walker hasn’t played enough to be consistent part of team. Once he gets going he has to sit again. He has to be 100% for Celtics to be at their best. Walker is part of core. They are not Winning without a healthy core. Don’t know what his injuries really are. But it’s been going on for too long now. I can understand Celts fans frustration. Ainge could make a major trade. Or can wait till next yr to do it. But a minor one like a rim protector (McGee, Whiteside) helps the team a lot.

  15. bigeasye

    Ainge doesn’t lose trades. Short of Sam Presti there isn’t a better executive in the league. Same goes for Stevens. They’ve had a lot of turnover and the heart and sole of their team is out currently.
    Based on the original timeline we should be just starting our ascension in the league right now and we’ve been just shy of the finals three times. Tatum is 22 and brown is 23. What the heck do y’all expect. Maybe we should trade Langford for Giannis and then AD will opt out and we can sign him in our non existent cap space.
    If you want to think this is bad, imagine being anMagic fan for the last two decades.

  16. peterdipersio06

    Ainge somehow needs to make a blockbuster and try to keep brown and Tatum while doing so

  17. x%sure

    Not a Celtic fan nor Nor’eastered nor Irish but if this be the topic…

    Well if I told my take it would just be insulting of Tatum, Stevens and maybe their defenders. Maybe I’m doing that now in effect by just basically voting then cutting out.

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